Sikh British MP demands probe into Thatcher gov’t’s role in Operation Bluestar

The Special Air Service (SAS) had reportedly ‘advised’ Indian forces prior to the operation

Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) Tanmanjeet Singh Deshi

Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) Tanmanjeet Singh Deshi has called for an independent inquiry into former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her government’s alleged involvement in Operation Bluestar.

Deshi, who is the United Kingdom’s first turbaned Sikh MP, raised the matter in the House of Commons on the 36th anniversary of the raid on Golden Temple that was carried out by Indian forces at the orders of then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The desecration of the Sikh shrine in Amritsar in 1984 to flush out violent extremists had attracted widespread criticism for Gandhi and eventually led to her assassination at the hands of her own bodyguards later that year. Subsequently there was widespread violence against Sikhs across India, a pogrom that was carried out, allegedly, with full blessings of the then Congress government.

“Despite recent revelations and given the huge demand from within the British Sikh community and the support of the Labour party and other Opposition parties, an independent inquiry to establish the extent of the Thatcher government’s involvement in the attack has still not been held,” Deshi reportedly told the Parliament.

To this, Leader of the Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, reportedly responded by acknowledging that it was an “important anniversary” and said, “I have every confidence that Margaret Thatcher, one of the greatest leaders this country has ever had, would always have behaved properly.”

The demand for an inquiry originally arose a few years ago when it was discovered that the British military had ‘advised’ Indian forces prior to the operation. This led the then British PM David Cameron to order an internal review. Subsequently a statement was made in the British Parliament that Britain’s role had been purely “advisory” and the Special Air Service (SAS) advice had “limited impact” on the operation.



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